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| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |

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The Tentacle


September 4, 2005

The Woes of Car Shopping

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by To McLaughlin

I am shopping to replace my 10-year-old Rav 4 with 126,000 miles for a new vehicle. Everyone told me the best deals were at the tail end of the 2005 car buying year before the 2006ís arrive which is like trying to figure out when next Easter Sunday falls.

They also told me I should buy at the end of the month because the car sales people are big procrastinators and donít sell anything until the last three days when their mortgage, credit card and the significant other has placed their belongings on the curb for the want of food in the house.

Besides, they need all the extra cash for band students who will be coming around peddling all that god-awful bar candy so they can go on their football trips. Donít they have enough tubas, yet?

Gas mileage is very important to me as it cost me $33/week to drive and for the first time in 10 years, petrol in Middletown was cheaper than on the Golden Mile. I also like to be up so when I am driving trucks and other cars splash water on the hood and not the windshield. I hate driving blind although my significant other swears I drive that way on a bright, sunny day.

The Rav 4 advertises the best gas mileage of the entire baby SUVís, and I have been happy with the one I have. I quit using air conditioning to conserve but found out it was more expensive to buy without one because of the cost to remove the system. Heat, automatic Ė for this non-coordinated soul Ė and any color but white Ė because that is the flavor my ex wife purchased for every car during our marriage Ė are my only criteria.

They now have a sun, er, moon roof. I only remember moons when I was a youngster dropping my pants at opposing teamsí cheerleaders after the football games. I guess they now have a hole in the roof for those kinds of shenanigans.

I donít need the keyless entry feature because I rarely lock the car doors. A CD player would not be necessary because the new discs I purchase for the home system usually end up under the seats. That is where the discs for the car will end up. The new recordings are retrieved during the six-month shoveling out, still plastic wrapped.

Now, letís get to the price. I want 0 percent interest for as long as I can get it. I desire every rebate possible including ones from other dealers. There is a rebate for college grads and since I qualify, albeit 30 years ago, I want that too. I love the employee discounts and that will make the car almost free.

Prices range from $17,988 to $21,000 and something for the same car. At least I think itís the same car. There is something about a 4X4 that I really donít understand; but it has something to do with snow and driving on Assateague Island. I have no intention of building snowmen in a field or driving down the beach challenging porpoises to a race.

Could be a NASCAR idea though.

There are fees in the ads that require a magnifying glass, nay, a microscope. One is a processing charge of $100. Sounds like something you use in a kitchen.

Then there is tax and tags which could be considerable since you have to probably have to take off a couple of days work just to deal with the MVA. Finally the freight charge. This is where the cars were delivered by UPS in pieces. Note, that none of these ďfees,Ē except for processing, are listed.

On second thought, my Rav 4 can get another 100,000 miles after all.



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